The Deadly Spawn is an oddball sci-fi/horror movie from 1983. I hadn’t seen it myself until just recently. I’d seen the poster and a few stills, but that’s all. Fortunately, we live in the age of the internet and YouTube, hence my ability to watch it.
First, I’d like to make sure you realize this is a ‘B’ movie. The entire budget of this film was a grand total of $25,000. Yes, you read that right. Of course, this was in 1983 dollars, but . . . that’s a shoestring budget. To give you an idea, note that Night of the Living Dead’s budget was $114,000 in 1968 dollars, and that was a tight budget. And Night didn’t have much in the way of special effects aside from some makeup effects.
Second, the late, great Tim Hildebrandt is one of the film’s producers. Yes, that Tim Hildebrandt. Lord of the friggin’ Rings Tim Hildebrandt of the Brothers Hildebrandt.of The brothers responsible for most of the LOTR artwork for a couple of decades, not to mention the original poster art for Star Wars. (Also note that the youngest protagonist and science fiction fanboy in the movie is Charles George Hildebrandt–Tim’s son.)
The Brothers Hildebrandt also did the artwork for the Deadly Spawn movie poster. Which is pretty damn cool.
The plot is straightforward and familiar to any science fiction or horror movie nerd. A meteor falls in the woods and is discovered by a couple of campers. The toothy spawn from inside the meteor make a quick meal of said campers. The spawn takes up residence in a rural house’s basement and proceeds to start eating the inhabitants and visitors. It also releases multiple tiny spawn with oversized teeth and jaws. The spawn do what evil alien spawn are supposed to do–they try to eat everything they find.
The gore is both graphic and solidly done, especially considering the minuscule budget available. Interspersing the graphic effects are several cutaway scenes involving what I kind only assume was a squirt gun with stage blood. The main creature has some nicely overdone dental appendages of sinister design. It’s no man in a rubber suit. It’s accomplished with puppetry effects and judicious use of dark lighting, cutaways and close-ups.
The acting? All I can say is that for a college production, the acting is decent. Not exactly Shakespearean, but this isn’t exactly Othello, either. I will say the acting is better than most of the SyFy Channel’s cheese movies. Which admittedly, isn’t hard.
I could go into more plot details, but honestly, you know everything you need to know. Alien spawn picking off victims. Deadly game of cat and mouse. Plucky young protagonist figures out the spawn’s weakness. Deadly vegetarian food party. Don’t go in the basement.
Party on. Go check it out. It’s available on YouTube for free. Enjoy.
*- Please note, there is a quasi “sequel” called Deadly Spawn II or Metamorphosis: The Alien Factor. Apparently it has little to do with the first movie. I have never seen it.